Communities in Bloom: Trail earns kudos for landscaping and gardens

“We did maintain our five blooms rating and that was the goal for us as a community.” - Dan Rodlie

The City of Trail and Communities in Bloom (CiB) have achieved the goal it set out to accomplish at this year’s national CiB conference in Prince Edward Island over the weekend.

Dan Rodlie with Trail Communities in Bloom says the number one aim was to keep last year’s rating of five out of five blooms. Trail also took home the Scotts Turf Builder Landscape Award, one of seven outstanding achievement awards.

“We did maintain our five blooms rating and that was the goal for us as a community,” he said.

“(For the landscape award), they look for the overall feel. It is about the white garden, the parks were in that too, including Gyro Park. It is about how well maintained (the parks are) and how accessible they are to people who live and work here. There are a lot of communities (in the competition) across Canada, so it was really tough.”

For the special recognition awards, like the landscape award, cities and towns have to submit its name for consideration and the national committee narrows it down to the top three, with one winner.

Although it didn’t win an award, the IncrEDIBLE Trail program garnered Trail a special mention at the ceremony. The program involves local businesses around the city planting vegetables and other edible plants in front of their stores and residents are welcome to pick whatever they want as they walk by.

According to the CiB judges that visited Trail in July, Piet Boersma and Lucie Gagne, the IncrEDIBLE Trail effort was a “great idea.”

“The walkers are welcome to help themselves; the planters are very abundant with a variety of vegetables,” the judges wrote in their notes. “The surplus from these mini-gardens are given to the local food banks. What a great idea; diversity in the planters, nice for the eyes, good for the belly.”

After leaving the national conference, participating cities were given a report with judge’s comments and some constructive criticism which Rodlie says will help direct CiB in Trail in the years to come.

“We were told to look at our urban forest areas and the historical aspect of the city,” he said. “Not having a proper museum and stuff like that. (A new museum) has been on the books for 10 or 15 years already, so the judges may get tired of hearing about it.”

It isn’t just Rodlie who has a new museum on the mind. Voters in Trail will be asked to vote for or against a new museum/library building on Nov. 15 in the upcoming civic election.

The next step for Rodlie and the local CiB committee is to go through the full report and make a presentation at the next city council meeting.

“Right now, we are going through (the judges’ comments and recommendations) and we are going to make that preliminary report,” he said. “It will all be talked about in council.”

Rodlie and CiB will also be hosting a public meeting for all of the committee members-at-large and anyone else who wants to join in for next year’s competition.

The conference itself was a chance for Rodlie to see what other cities in competition were doing and also a chance to see what Charlottetown, PEI was doing to maintain the city.

“We learned a lot,” he said. “That is why we go to these conferences – you are there for three days in meetings and on field trips. (We went to) a recycling plant and we had a tour at a composting facility, which is something they have been talking about for this area for years. Then of course, you talk to the other communities. It is very interesting to go there and get a feel for it.”

The City of Trail has even been asked to mentor two other cities that are new to the competition.

“Because we have been (involved with CiB) for so many years, they want our help,” said Rodlie.

Trail was entered into the small town category in the international competition, along with Castlegar and cities from Manitoba, Alberta, Newfoundland and Ireland. The City of Castlegar won the category as well as receiving special mention for community involvement in its floral displays.